When Should I Take My Child to See an Orthodontist?
Every parent wants to do the best for their child’s health. This includes providing a healthy diet, regular trips to the pediatrician, and getting all the recommended vaccinations. But many parents mistakenly skip a check-in with the orthodontist. Seeing a dentist should happen as early as possible, to get your child comfortable with a medical professional looking in their mouth. However, when should a child see an orthodontist? We are happy to provide some insight when you should be calling to make an appointment.
What Age to Make an Appointment with an Orthodontist
While the exact age may vary between children, the American Association of Orthodontists has a recommendation that an orthodontist should screen a child at age seven. Generally, by age 7, most children have all of their molars and a few permanent teeth in the front of their mouth. With imaging, an orthodontist will be able to screen them adequately and provide some insight on what dental treatment they may need in the next five to ten years. Most children won’t require treatment right away, but it is important to attend an initial screening.
When Children Require Orthodontic Treatment
Some people mistakenly believe that orthodontic treatment isn’t as effective when done as a child, because all of their adult teeth have not grown in. It is quite the opposite. Starting orthodontic treatment early tends to produce optimal results. Many children will require some orthodontic intervention between the ages of 8 and 14. At a minimum, your orthodontist may want to keep a close eye during your child’s development to avoid any problems as their adult teeth begin to come in. It is crucial that you call your orthodontist to create a personalized strategy for treatment. The orthodontist may suggest traditional braces or Invisalign, depending on the level of orthodontic treatment needed.
Cost of an Orthodontic Screening
Many orthodontist offices provide a child’s first orthodontic screening free of charge. Many times, the majority of the cost is covered by dental plans. Insurance companies can appreciate the importance of preventative care when it comes to dental health. To see how much your office charges for a child’s orthodontic screening, give them a call. Make sure to have your dental insurance card handy to provide any necessary information. They should be able to estimate the cost rather quickly.
Cost If My Child Needs Orthodontic Treatment
The price of orthodontic treatment highly depends on what procedure needs to be completed. While it is true that orthodontic treatment is not cheap, it can have long-lasting benefits on your child’s health. Preventative care and early treatment can potentially save your child from painful and expensive dental issues in the future. If you are worried about being able to afford orthodontic treatment for your child, discuss your concerns with the office. They may be able to provide financing and interest-free credit options. The majority of orthodontic offices understand that payment may be difficult, but treatment is crucial.
Signs that Your Child Needs to See an Orthodontist
While the first screening at age 7 is a great place to start, there are some circumstances in which you may need to give our office a call sooner rather than later. These signs include:
- Protruding teeth
- Unbalanced facial appearance
- Crowded or misplaced teeth
- Jaw misalignment
- Biting or chewing issues
- Grinding or clenching teeth
- Difficulty chewing food
- Excessive mouth breathing
- Thumb sucking past the average age
- Premature or delayed loss of baby teeth
If you notice any of the above, it is essential that you see an orthodontist right away. Delaying treatment can exacerbate existing issues and cause more pain long-term.
How Do I Find an Orthodontist that Sees Children?
While it is simple to find a pediatrician, many parents struggle to find a good orthodontist for their child. Unlike adults, children may feel uncomfortable having anyone poking around in their mouth. It is vital that you find an orthodontist that has considerable experience in working with younger children, especially if this is a first-time visit. Check with your dental insurance plan to see any local offices that accept your particular coverage. Call your orthodontist’s office and ask about their experience in seeing children. If you feel comfortable with their answers, make an appointment for your child to come in for a screening.
How Do I Introduce My Child to Orthodontic Treatment?
Every parent has their own way of talking to their child about any potential dental visit. Make sure to put them at ease. It can be helpful to explain the screening process in advance. They should understand that your orthodontist will explain step-by-step what they intend to do. Most orthodontists are extremely sensitive about the fear that comes into play with an office visit. Try to make a trip to the orthodontist as positive as possible. After the visit is complete, do something fun. For example, take a trip to the park or get their favorite treat. Contact Ballard Orthodontics today to find out what our experienced orthodontist, Dr. Rick Ballard, can do for your child’s teeth.